bright ideas

5 habits of highly effective service desk managers

Service Management


22 Jul 2015


This blog is based on the eBook by Phil Gerbyshak. Click here for access to the full guide.

As we are now halfway through 2015 and you have your team focused on service management best practices, now is the time to start looking inward and focusing on your own skills and capabilities. This is a good opportunity to think about how you can be a highly effective manager, to ensure you and your team are on track to hit your targets.

For me, it's all about ensuring the team are all on the same page and everyone is clear on what contribution is expected of them. It's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, so taking stock every now and then to review our effectiveness and look at the big picture is important.

I recently read an eBook written by Phil Gerbyshak, who has come up with the five habits of highly effective service desk managers. It is written for both new and experienced service desk managers and I think it provides some really interesting points that I have summarised below.

1. Hire the right people

The best advice you'll ever receive: hire people smarter than you!

  1. Know what you are looking for to round out your team. Understand the holes you need to fill. Is it a technical leader, a report writer, someone ITIL certified?
  2. Understand the culture you project to your clients. Attitudes are non-negotiable. Communication skills are also non-negotiable.

2. Share expectations with your staff

Everyone needs a little direction, so use appraisals that are geared to help people improve. They should be about the individual, how they can improve and add more value to themselves, the team, and the company.

Step 1: Plan

Simple enough. Let everyone know when you are planning to conduct appraisals.

Step 2: Do the appraisal

It is frustrating to be in a job for several years and not be reviewed by your manager - no objectives, no direction, or no knowledge of how well you are doing. Utilise the appraisal process to truly build competent team members.


If for no other reason, you may have a stake in the results and the outcome of the process (keep in mind that your own review and compensation may depend on your team's performance).

3. Always be communicating

One of the best ways to communicate with your team is through recognition and rewards. But, this must be done correctly or there's no point in doing it at all. Think of the word 'must'.

Meaningful (and full of meaning)

Unique (to the individual)

Specific reason (random 'high fives' don't work)

Timely (don't wait until the end of the year or the person's appraisal) 

4. Market your team

Marketing your team is serious business. You should do it at every opportunity. Market your team as a group of professionals who excel at what they do and want to help.

  1. Get out from behind your desk. Make time every week to spend with managers in other areas. Ask questions, take notes, and learn.
  2. Invite managers from other areas to visit and observe what your team does day-to-day. It'll give them greater appreciation for what your team does as well as a better appreciation for the person on the end of the phone/email.
  3. Get involved outside of your department and find ways to relate it back to your team. Serve on committees, speak at events, write articles for other departments, help set up and use wikis, blogs, etc.

By having a better understanding of the business you can show your team how they can contribute to the bottom line.

5. Focus on metrics that matter

Metrics are one of the rare items we deal with that are absolute and incurable. Statistics don't lie, but how one interprets the data is another story altogether. Ultimately, metrics are just numbers. 10 pages of daily metrics do not add value just because you have them. Part of your job, and your value, is identifying which metrics work, which to dump and how to use them to build a stronger team and achieve happier customers.

At ViFX we are constantly focused on how companies can use technology not only to be as efficient as possible, but also to provide innovation and competitive edge. The area of Service Management is no exception to this, and with the right tools, the right team, and the right practices we're sure that you can deliver your business amazing results.

You can download the full eBook by Phil Gerbyshak.

Download eBook

Author: Philip Venables

Phil is the General Manager of the ViFX Service Management team, championing Enterprise Service Management solutions and services.

22 July 2015 / 0 Comments